Giant Invisible Pulsating Electromagnetic Sphere Hovering Above My Orange Settee


The emergence of the digital city can be traced back to the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004. WIFI was just starting to have an impact on peoples’ everyday life. The 802.11g standard had been launched giving WIFI faster speeds and enabling coverage over much greater distances. This was greeted with a utopian political movement, led by activist groups such as YouAreHere [1] in London and free2air in Berlin. Their aim was to build and mesh local area wireless networks to provide communities with Open Distributed Public Wireless (ODPW). YouAreHere set itself the goal of developing a wireless backbone reaching from Limehouse to Hackney Central. They constructed a series of masts at strategic sites along the route. One of the most significant masts was mounted on the top of Limehouse Town Hall, which also housed the headquarters of the London Psychogeographical Association (LPA) [2].

At the same time, third generation (3G) wireless mobile telecommunications technology was rapidly being introduced to providing faster internet speeds for mobile devices. In contrast to the optimism of the ODPW activists, the introduction of 3G was met with anxiety, paranoia and fear. The roll-out of 3G technology involved the siting of a network of mobile phone masts throughout the country. In East London, the rooftops of high rise buildings on working class estates were chosen to locate the majority of these masts. Around the country, residents had begun tearing down mobile-phone masts, as public concerns over the untested health impact of the radiation they emit hit national headlines. The Telegraph reported [3] that in one week as many as four masts were destroyed in a campaign to stop them being placed on top of, or close to, peoples’ houses. Working class people accused the mobile phone companies of using them as guinea pigs. In Hackney, a group of Kurdish activists chained themselves to a mast while it was still on the lorry delivering it to be installed on the roof of their block. In London Fields, one 90 year old resident of the Wayman Court estate refused to move from a site adjacent to his flat that had been given planning permission for a mast.

In this febrile atmosphere of utopianism and paranoia, it was clear that the construction of wireless and mobile networks signalled a significant transformation of the landscape. I purchased an A-Com receiver used by telecoms engineers and started to listen to the new world of data transmissions. The crackle of white noise greeted me as I switched it on. I noticed a distant pulsing signal that drew me towards it. I was in the front room of my flat and its intensity increased as I started to approach my settee. The sound throbbed with metallic bass tones. I moved my receiver towards the settee then back again. The signal was surprisingly spatial. I carefully traced its shape revealing an invisible pulsating electromagnetic sphere hovering above my orange settee. From that moment, I saw the city as overlaid with invisible lines, shapes and structures, a coded geometry of machine to machine interactions beyond our perception.

As the UK prepares to introduce 5G cellular network technology, I am struck by an overwhelming sense of Déjà vu. Time seems to be punctured by accelerating epochs of pseudo progress X to the power n. 5G transmissions are broadcast on frequencies between 3.4 – 3.6GHz. These waves travel shorter distances through urban spaces, so 5G networks require more transmitter masts than previous technologies, positioned closer to ground level. The construction of the 5G network has sparked viral conspiracies, renewed health fears and an angle grinder attack by residents of one working class estate in Manchester. The next generation of utopian media artists are already presenting critical 5G projects at media arts festivals.


CODED GEOMETRY is scanning the 3.4 to 3.6GHz spectrum using new antenna designs connected to Software Defined Radio (SDR). We are conducting research analysing and mapping the structures, invisible geographies and ambience this technology is bringing into being. Researching the spatial aesthetics these new circuits of digitality are bringing forth. Asking how they will shape our understand and experience of space and spatiality which are already inscribed by, but not reducible to, digital systems.


[1] For more information about YouAreHere see –

[2] The LPA was originally suggested by the British artist Ralph Rumney in 1957 and reinvoked, in the early 1990s as the LPA East London Section. For more information see –

[3] See Daniel Foggo, 30 Nov 2003, Protesters topple mobile phone masts as health scare spreads, The Telegraph. see –


CODED GEOMETRY :: Dark Side of the Earth

CODED GEOMETRY will collaborate in an experiment with the Indigo Mind Project.  A brain-computer interface that reads fluctuating electro-encephalograph (EEG) signals and maps them to compose a multilayered soundscape.

CODED GEOMETRY will explore nonlinear neuro-feedback and affective responses through a complex circuit of interchange, both responding to the soundscape being produced by the participants psycho-physiological state but also by affecting the participants psycho-physiological state through the projected images of a live digital drift through the glitchy, militarised and contested space of GIS satellite imaging.

The experiment will take place on Wednesday 23rd March from 6pm -8pm

Emotion lab,
Docklands Campus,
University of East London

Part of: Affect and Social Media Symposium & Sensorium exhibition.

Report from Jonathan Kemp’s : “Telluro-geo-psycho-modulator” workshop and field trip

Loughton Camp
Loughton Camp

The pulsating of blood through my left temple and the musky smell of newly disturbed soil. Five people desperately working to get a bunch of rocks, wrapped with copper wire, to stay attached to my head with two elasticated headbands. A self awareness of looking like a fucking hippy and the sound of three or four camera shutters photographing me. A really unlikely start to an experiment which offered the potential for a paranormal experience. With my brain fully wired to the earth’s electromagnetic fields, the clicking of cameras started to fade and unexpectedly my usually chaotic thoughts started to calm. In only two minutes a profound and intensely pleasant calm came over my mind and my body relaxed, my self consciousness about looking like a knob and any initial anxiety about having electronics mess with my brainwaves seeped away along with any concept of time. I sat peacefully for an unquantifiable period with my eyes shut.  There were no signs of the hallucinogenic dreams or bursts of lysergic colour I had secretly hoped for; just the uncharacteristic calm. I opened my eyes and looked around the clearing. Intense shards of light passing through the foliage, I could see other members of the experiment huddled together in small groups chatting, I momentarily caught someones eye, but felt distant and aloof, closing my eyes again. I sat enjoying the experience; 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, half an hour, who knows? Time seemed to stop until a nagging thought eventually entered my mind, I should let someone else try, 14 people at around 10 minutes each is going to take another couple of hours. I disconnected the headband and removed the rock solenoids from my skull.

The sense of calm and feeling of dislocation persisted. I had the desire to withdraw from the group and went for a walk, tracing the boundary of Loughton Camp. About half way around the perimeter I approached an abandoned bivouac and experienced a sudden overwhelming sense of loss, a welling of sadness forming deep inside. I battled to suppress the melancholic outpouring before it could fill my eyes with tears. Tulta disrupted my insular thoughts with a shout! My 13 year old son, had got himself stuck high up in the branches of one of the tall beech trees and everyone was concerned about him. Both the distant calm and the moment of melancholy were replaced by adrenaline and a sense of responsibility. I helped him down from the tree and returned to the group, helping out with the attachment of the rock solenoids to the heads of the remaining participants.


The Telluro-geo-psycho-modulator workshop and field trip was organised by Jonathan Kemp on the 2nd and 3rd May 2015 at furtherfield.

One medium in which all terrestrial beings are immersed is the electromagnetic. This workshop directly tests Persinger’s theory that spiritual and ghostly sensations (“anomalous experiences”) are triggered by the interference patterns constantly played across the brain by the weak magnetic fields that emanate from the earth.

The workshop aims to begin equipping participants with a method to explore such relations between the earth and our psyches through the construction of an experimental interface (developed with Martin Howse).

The brain is electro-chemical, and the existence of fundamental commonalities between all 7 billion human brains by which a similar physical stimulus can affect them is not a new concept – however, this workshop tests the idea that it is the induction from very low electromagnetic fields that disrupt a sense of self through the creation of anomalous experiences, and these experiences can be seen as the effects of such natural weak brain stimulation.

In the workshop particpants will build a simple circuit with which to test this thesis by connecting the earth’s telluric currents (naturally weak electromagnetic fields) directly to our brains. On the second day we will then test the circuits outdoors in Epping Forest.

connecting the earth's telluric currents
connecting the earth’s telluric currents

Documentation and more Impressionistic reports

Invisible Geographies :: East London Drift

Coded Geometry :: Robbinhood Guardens

<< Invisible Geographies :: East London Drift >>

Date :: Sunday 15th April  2015

Time :: 2 pm

Meet :: At the anchor outside Limehouse Sailors Mission (Map)

We will be using electromagnetic induction coils, and broad spectrum RF receivers to make the city’s wireless communications infrastructure audible, allowing the drift to be guided by the intensities, textures, and ambiances of electromagnetic transmissions.

Invisible Geography


It was only leaving this territory of ghosts, memories, and bitter class clearances, that the digitally expanded city revealed itself, if only partially, within in a coincidental alignment of moments. Heavy vibrations amplified through the riveted panels of an iron bridge, a heady exaggerated perspective of tracks and electricity cables raced towards their vanishing points, a yellow brick post war tenement block topped with transmitters and a collection of satellite dishes pointing to the sky and a man wearing an embroidered white dashiki shirt and trousers with a kufi cap, probably a recent arrival from West African judging from his gestures, tended pink flowers on the balcony below. I tried to take a photograph but the metadata reveals more than the blurred and ill composed image.

I was passing the centre of the bridge that connects platform 1 and 2 of Hackney Central overground station when my attention was grabbed by the heavy low rumbling that reverberated through my feet and deep into my body. The Iron railings had been covered with painted grey chipboard blocking my vision and forcing me to rise up onto my toes to look over the high sides of the bridge. I watched the slow movement of yet another freight train passing below. Containers with strange names and a very particular pallet of colours that have become familiar by the frequency and repetition of their passage through this area heading north from Tilbury docks or London Gateway;


Tilbury to Birmingham, Bristol, Coatbridge, Felixstowe, Leeds, Liverpool or Manchester.

London Gateway to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Coatbridge with an ad-hoc service to Bristol.

The African guy was cleaning his already spotless balcony with sharp whip like movements of a white cloth that seemed to amplify the weight of transmitters only metres above his head and emphasise the oversaturation of his pink flowers which struck me as anachronistically out of place in October. A sudden bright spark illuminated the bridge and burnt a temporarily blind spot onto my retina as the connecting strips of the pantograph arm momentarily disconnected and reconnected the Freightliner engine to the suspended power line. The ionised air and the visceral presence of the usually invisible electricity made me recall a passage from Gilbert Simondon’s On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects in which he meditates on the relationship between a traction engine and its varied geographic environments;

The traction engine doesn’t simply transform electrical energy to mechanical energy; it applies electrical energy to a geographically varied world, translating it technically in response to the profile of the railway track, the varying resistance of the wind, and to the resistance provided by snow which the engine pushes ahead and shoves aside. The traction engine causes a reaction in the line that powers it, a reaction that is a translation of geographical and meteorological structure of the world’.

The freight train continued to rumble below my feet as I contemplated the invisible electrical mapping produced by the train within its connected power line, not just of the physical environment but also rendering social and economic flows. The added weight of commuters at certain times of the day moving in one direction then the other or the alterations in the power line between commuter trains and freight. Either the electrical substation or the train itself must be engineered to counter the effects of these cartographic fluctuations, but if the system could be hacked at that key point a form of rhythm analytics could be extracted revealing the invisible geographies produced in the power lines through the socio-economic and environmental rhythms of the train network.

The endless freight continued to flow below me. The physical length of these trains is impressive but can induce an overwhelming sense of monotony. My mind started to contemplate wider invisible geographies. The African man had disappeared indoors but I’m pretty sure that my mobile phone was secretly communication with the mast that is sited above his flat. My limited knowledge of the mobile phone network informs me that these masts constantly broadcast their system identification code and mobile phones are set to listen and check in, even when they are not in use.

I had a moment of epiphany. The digitally expanded city that I was searching for and had failed to locate is, just like the relationship between the train and its power cable, in part invisible. It is not accessible through the normal human sensors, only disclosing its presence through its absence. Those moments of low signal or lack of wifi connection. As I walk Hackney I have been enmeshed in an invisible geography of machine to machine communication, I have been creating invisible disturbances in a whole host of systems, casting data shadows, a personal trail of involuntary meta-data has accompanied my walk as my phone broadcasts and receives its secret messages, revealing my presences in an unseen cellular network and creating fluctuations within the electro magnetic fields that I pass through. My phone has communicated with satellites in order to log the location and altitude of my photograph and layered wifi zones have been mapped and charted, routers contacted and interrogated. It now becomes clear that the digital devices and interactions that form the tangible aspect of the digitally expanded city atop a vast invisible infrastructure. Where the Industrial revolution had transformed space through the construction of impressive physical structures the digital revolution overlays space with an invisible geography.

sensingsite 2014

Materialising Site

23 April 2014
Lethaby Gallery
Central Saint Martins

Humans are widely assumed not to have a magnetic sense…However, there is consistent evidence of an influence of geomagnetic fields on the light sensitivity of the human visual system. Moreover, it has been proposed recently that light-sensitive magnetic responses are not only used for directional information, but may also aid visual spatial perception in mammals, by providing a spherical coordinate system for integrating spatial position. (Foley, Gegear & Reppert: 21 June 2011)

The ability of humans to sense electromagnetic fields is a disputed territory at a period when a vast infrastructure of communications equipment has been constructed across urban and rural spaces to form the backbone of the im/material economy. These structures are as important as the iron bridges and railways were to the industrial revolution, forming an electro-magnetic architecture of transmission and reception.

Each site creates its own unique electromagnetic geography through its networked devices, WLAN, Cell phone signals, RFID readers, Bluetooth devices, DECT cordless phone base stations, and the internal processors of laptops. Making use of a GSM sniffer, electromagnetic induction coils, and a broad spectrum RF receiver to make this invisible geography audible, John Wild will employ the technique of electromagnetic audio drifting, allowing himself to be guided by the intensities, textures, and ambiances of the site’s electromagnetic transmissions, materializing the invisible architecture of the Lethaby Gallery.

[sensingsite 2014]


Lauren E. Foley, Robert J. Gegear & Steven M. Reppert. (21 June 2011). Human cryptochrome exhibits light-dependent magnetosensitivity. Nature Communications, 2, 1-10.